Bridging the Gap: How to Get from Where You Are Now to Where You Want to Be
Got goals? These strategies will help you get from Point A to Point B with the greatest of ease.
You are here. Your goal is over there. That space in-between is the proverbial gap. The gap can be an expanse that beckons you to take risks and reach further than you’ve ever reached before or it can be an abyss fraught with oh-nos! and what ifs? The following strategies will help turn your ‘oh nos!’ and ‘what ifs?’ into ‘I’ve got this!’
Set laser-like goals: I once worked with a client whose stated goal was to feel good about herself. My first question was, ‘can you be more specific?’ Further discussion revealed that she would feel good about herself if she was in better shape, kept her home neat and clean and spent more time with family and friends. Her first step was to formulate more specific goals. Her next step was to design a plan of action.
Getting into better shape was achieved by going to the gym for thirty minutes 4-5 x per week, strength training at home for 20-30 minutes 2 x per week and following a healthy eating plan prescribed by her doctor. Keeping her home neat and clean was achieved by creating a checklist of chores and revising her house-keeping schedule. Spending more time with family and friends occurred regularly, once she decided how often she wanted to see them and began setting reminders in her calendar. Specific goals translated into achievable goals.
Focus on your feelings: Rather than focusing solely on what you want to achieve, ask yourself ‘how do I want to feel and what do I have to do to feel this way?’ For example, if you want to feel relaxed and content, the first step is to figure out what is preventing you from feeling this way. If a stressful job is the culprit, the next step is to design an action plan aimed at resolving the problem. Your plan might include stress management, tackling workplace issues or looking for a new job. Once you improve the situation at work or find a more satisfying/less stressful job, you will feel more relaxed and content.
Go the distance: Achieving your goals may require you to engage in novel, sometimes challenging behavior on a regular basis for an extended period of time. For example, if your goal is to purge and reorganize your file cabinet within ten days, you will need to go through a certain number of files by the tenth day. You may not enjoy this activity (as evidenced by the fact that you put it off), but by continuing to take action, you will achieve your goal. Goal-setting requires a commitment not only to the goal, but to the process of achieving it.
Schedule your ETA: Setting laser-like goals and implementing an effective plan of action are necessary to achieve any goal, but without a deadline, your goal will remain a dream. Choose a target date for achieving your goal and enter it in your calendar. You might choose a specific date or a range of dates i.e. between the 1st and the 15th of the month. Setting a deadline helps you pace yourself and keeps your eyes on the prize.
Don’t overthink it: You want to carefully think things through. You want to get it right. That makes sense. What you don’t want is to get caught up in the endless loop of analysis-paralysis that serves no purpose other than to keep you stuck. Taking the plunge is often easier than standing poised and agonizing at the edge of the cliff. While I don’t advocate flying by the seat of your pants, there is something to be said for spontaneity and going with your gut.
Bottom line: Let your vision and your feelings guide you in setting clear and specific goals and then formulate a plan of action that is detailed, but not overly complicated. Implement your plan and tweak it as you go along. Control what you can and let go of the rest. Pay attention to the consequences of your actions, a.k.a. feedback from the universe, as it will move you in the direction of your goals.